The attention-hungry couple that crashed the Obama administration's first state dinner have admitted to a federal official they went without a confirmed invitation - just in case they got approved at the last minute.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi claimed a dead cell phone battery prevented them from hearing a voicemail earlier that day advising them they did not make the guest list.
The Salahis gave that account in an e-mail sent hours after the dinner to a Pentagon official who had tried to get them invited. The e-mail was obtained by The Associated Press.
Earlier Tuesday, Tareq Salahi denied that he and his wife were party crashers.
In his first nationally broadcast interview since the incident, Salahi told NBC's "Today" show that the whole experience has been "the most devastating thing that has ever happened" to he and his wife, Michaele.
Salahi said flatly that the couple "did not party-crash the White House." He said the pair is cooperating with the Secret Service and they have "great respect" for President Barack Obama. Salahi told interviewer Matt Lauer he's confident "the truth will come out." about the circumstances surrounding his and his wife's attendance at the state dinner for the visiting prime minister of India.
Despite reports that the couple was, an NBC spokeswoman insisted, "No money changed hands."
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told CBS' "The Early Show", "This White House will do anything that needs to happen to ensure that both the president and his family are safe and secure."
On MSNBC, Gibbs was more forceful, saying both President Obama and his wife, Michelle, were angry that two uninvited people were able to get into a state dinner at the White House.
Gibbs said "it's safe to say he was angry. Michelle was angry." Gibbs noted the Secret Service is investigating and said the White House is re-examining its procedures. He told the network, "I think the president really had the same reaction the Secret Service had, and that was great concern for how something like this happened."
NBC's parent company, NBC Universal, also owns the cable network Bravo. Michaele Salahi had hoped to land a part on an upcoming Bravo reality show, "The Real Housewives of D.C."
Michaele Salahi described the couple as "shocked and devastated" when they saw accounts of the incident the following morning.
Asked if they had been mischaracterized in the media, Tareq Salahi said, "No question ... It's been devastating what's happened to Michaele and I ... Our lives have really been destroyed."
"Everything we've worked for," Michaele Talahi told interviewer Matt Lauer.
"We were invited, not crashers, and there isn't anyone who would have the audacity or the poor behavior to do that," she said. "No one would do that, and certainly not us."
Tareq Salahi said that the couple has been "very candid" with the Secret Service and said "we have turned over documentation to them."
"We're going to definitely work with the Secret Service between Micahele and I to really shed light on this," Tareq Salahi said. He indicated the couple had e-mails that would reinforce their position that they did not go uninvited to the dinner.
The couple also said they had not discussed accepting money from any party or organization, including NBC, for telling their story.
"I am certain we will be completely exonerated," he said.